Fluff debate about princess books

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100
Fluff debate about princess books

Today Tiven shared with me a collection of stories that she & some of her girlfriends at school have written at recess. One of the stories was a classic princess tale where the princess basically made trouble and a handsome prince rescued her and they fell in love. I told Tiven that I was happy she didn't write something like that. I told her that, during her princess phase, I specifically sought out stories of independent princesses who make their own way, who don't make trouble for other people to solve, who try to rescue others, and who don't rely on a man to save the day. Tiven said, "Yes, you did. Princess Hyacinth."

I can't find the book tonight but the story is this: Princess Hyacinth floats in the air; she is at risk of floating away so her parents load down her clothing with heavy weights to keep her on the ground; Princess Hyacinth makes a friend of a little boy who enjoys flying a kite; Princess Hyacinth decides to ditch her royal weighted clothing and float away in her underwear; and every evening, when she's ready to come down, the little boy and his kite pull her back down to earth.

My take on Princess Hyacinth is that the little boy, being a friend, is doing what he can to help his friend be herself; he's not trying to make her into something she's not. And he's helping her get home safely which is what a good friend does. Tiven's take on it is that he's rescuing her because she can't get down by herself and that it's even more egregious because she knowingly takes off her weighted clothing every day to float away; she's putting herself at risk of getting hit by an airplane. (Her words.)

So, if you know the story of Princess Hyacinth, do you agree with me, or with Tiven? Blum 3 And in general, what are your thoughts about the kind of stories where the handsome prince has to save the princess from danger, or from herself?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I do not have a problem with traditional princess stories. I also do not have a problem with stories like Mulan. I have not heard of the story you are talking about.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

That story sounds lovely, but I've never heard of it before Smile

I have no issue with traditional princess stories. I just like stories and want my children to gobble up all kinds of books so that they can get a lifelong companion in a book (as cheesy as that sounds). To me they are all about imagination and fantasy. I truthfully think as long as their is a variety, its just a story in the end. Something to imagine, pretend and maybe even play out.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

None of my girls were very into princesses, or anything overly "girly" for that matter. But I dont put to much stock into worrying about them thinking they will need to be rescued by a boy. I want my kids to have great imaginations, and if princess stories are exciting to them so be it. They all grow out of princesses eventually and move onto different kinds of stories so the princess stories may work for getting them interested in reading.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3187

I feel the same way...that while Juliet is enjoying those kinds of stories, she should make the most of it. She's also fascinated by the tales of Percy Jackson that her brother tells her, she likes Ahsoka from Star Wars the Clone Wars, she likes a mix of the princess type things and then the better stories about bolder, more independent girls.

I am not familiar with the Princess Hyacinth story but I think the fact that you guys got different things out of it and can talk about it is what literature is all about, and it's great.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I also wanted to add that when my girls did read about princesses we talked about it. The only movie that they really loved was Mulan, and my oldest was sure she was a black belt in Karate for months after that one

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I am not familiar with the Princess Hyacinth story but I think the fact that you guys got different things out of it and can talk about it is what literature is all about, and it's great.

Yeah, I was pretty amazed that she had such a different take on it. It was a really interesting discussion for a few minutes before bedtime. I actually kind of wanted to keep talking but she'd been such a grump the last couple of days I decided she needed sleep more than a talk with Mom. The next night we stayed up later together discussing "Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister." Smile

"mom3girls" wrote:

I also wanted to add that when my girls did read about princesses we talked about it. The only movie that they really loved was Mulan, and my oldest was sure she was a black belt in Karate for months after that one

We do talk about a lot of the things that she's reading on her own now, but we didn't do it so much when she was younger and I was reading to her. She just wanted the story, not a dialogue along with it. That's why I sought out books that didn't perpetuate a "must be saved by a man" thinking, because if she was going to hear the story without wanting any additional input, those weren't stories I wanted her to hear. I'd prefer them to be about something more positive, more empowering.

This is the book in question:
Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated): Florence Parry Heide, Lane Smith: 9780375845017: Amazon.com: Books